Golden Knights praised for building successful expansion team

Updated May 26, 2018 - 5:14 pm

Hey, Seattle, this wasn’t as easy as it looked.

The Golden Knights made it appear simple in building a team that has reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. But the Knights’ success was the result of meticulous planning and working within the parameters of a set of rules designed to give them a chance to be competitive.

Granted, nothing was guaranteed. No one forced teams to make side deals with general manager George McPhee that boomeranged on them. (Yes, you Florida, Minnesota and Columbus.)

But the consensus among NHL team owners and executives is things will be a little different when the time comes for Seattle to stock its franchise for the 2020-21 season. The league is expected to approve the city as its 32nd team at the Board of Governors meeting June 20 in Las Vegas.

“What’s happening in Vegas is great for the NHL,” Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold said. “Sure, Vegas had more favorable draft rules, but the real story is the coaching and makeup of this team. As a hockey fan, I love watching it.”

Paul Fenton, the Wild’s new general manager, said: “The expansion rules changed between Vegas and Nashville quite a bit, and it’s really interesting. I’m going to be curious to see how they change it even more when Seattle comes in in a couple of years.”

Leipold said: “I’ll be involved in that if I can. Trust me, it won’t happen again.”

Los Angeles Kings president Luc Robitaille also expects many teams to have a more cautious approach at the next expansion draft.

“I think a lot of GMs and a lot of executives will probably address the expansion draft differently next time,” he said. “I think a lot of teams were scared to lose some players who were making moves and ended up giving more than what they expected other than keeping that one guy, and I think it will be handled differently by everyone next time around.”

Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Norm Maciver agreed.

“I think teams will be more cognizant of the rules as it pertains to Seattle,” he said. “We all thought they’d get good players because we could only protect a certain amount of players. But no one saw this coming, making the finals in their first season.”

And while everyone is surprised to see the Knights playing for the Cup, nobody is begrudging the way they went about building their team.

“I do think it’s great for our league,” Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told NHL.com. “Las Vegas was awarded a franchise, and they paid a significant franchise fee to come into the league ($500 million). I think looking back, and I’m speaking a little bit out of turn here, but looking back at our league and the history of expansion, it’s tough in some of the markets that … if that team doesn’t have a chance for a few years, it’s tough to grow that fan base.

“The rest of the league, it was tough on us because we were losing good players, but I think (commissioner) Gary Bettman did the right thing. I don’t think anybody knew (the Knights) were going to be this competitive.”

John Davidson, Columbus’ president of hockey operations, said: “Through the expansion rules Vegas had a chance to get off to a successful start, and good for them. Now they’re playing for the Cup. That’s what dreams are made of.”

Davidson said the team has no regrets over exposing William Karlsson in the draft, even though he had a career season with 43 goals and 78 points as the Knights’ top centerman.

In the side deal with the Blue Jackets, the Knights drafted David Clarkson, which took his $5.25 million salary off Columbus’ books, then were allowed to draft Karlsson. They also got two draft picks.

“Good for Will. He’s a great kid,” Davidson said.

“Vegas’ timing was good. We were in a rebuild for five years, and we had turned the corner the year before. We had more good players than before, so we knew we would lose someone good.”

Fenton was the Nashville Predators’ assistant GM during the expansion draft, when the team lost veteran forward James Neal to the Knights.

“Different things happen for different reasons,” Fenton said. “We started preparing in Nashville for it, and it really affected some of our signings and what have you. It’s real easy to sit here now and throw stones and say this guy did this and this guy did that. We lost James Neal. We could have done something else to make it happen.

“I’ll never throw stones at anybody, it’s really hard to sit in this position. What (former Wild GM) Chuck (Fletcher) had to go through. I read a lot of stuff that’s saying he did the wrong thing. I look at it and say, ‘What would I have done?’ Well, I’m not gonna tell you what I would have done, but there’s a lot of people out there that don’t look like they made the right decision.”

Robitaille said everyone figured to lose a good player.

“We knew the night of the expansion draft they were going to be competitive,” he said. “You looked at the players that were available to them, and there was a lot of talent for them to pick from.

“George is a really smart guy. The team that’s still playing in Washington is the team he built. There’s a lot of players he brought in. You can see the type of general manager he is.”

More Golden Knights: Follow Golden Knights coverage at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Edge: Knights Reflect On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the Knights emptying their locker room and how the team feels about their season ending with a Stanley Cup loss.
Marc-Andre Fleury On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about the team losing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights React To Stanley Cup Loss
The Golden Knights reflect on their Stanley Cup loss against the Washington Capitals in game five.
George McPhee Talks About The Future For The Golden Knights
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee goes over what the future holds for the team and the reality of certain players not being part of the team next season.
Gerard Gallant On Stanley Cup Loss And The Future
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Knights Stanley Cup Final loss against the Washington Capitals and what the future holds for the team.
Golden Knights Empty Locker Room
The Golden Knights empty their locker room after losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Review-Journal's Golden Knights covers
Golden Edge: Magical season comes to an end
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Adam Hill talk about the end of the Golden Knights season, who fell 4-3 to the Capitals, losing the series in Game 5.
Golden Knights On Stanley Cup Final Loss
The Golden Knights react to their loss against the Washington Capitals in game five of the Stanley Cup Final.
Gerard Gallant On Losing The Stanley Cup Final
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Golden Knights losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights remain confident heading into Game 5
Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula talk about their mentality heading into Game 5 down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights struggling with Capitals blocking shots
Gerard Gallant and Ryan Reaves discuss how the Knights are trying to get past the Capitals blocking a lot of their shots.
Gerard Gallant focused on Game 5 in T-Mobile Arena
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after practice ahead of Game 5.
Golden Knights reflect on going down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, James Neal and Alex Tuch talk after losing Game 4 to the Washington Capitals and going down 3-1 in the series.
Marc-Andre Fleury on where the Knights must improve
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about what he expects his team to improve on when the Knights return to Vegas for Game 5 after going down 3-1 in the series.
Gerard Gallant talks about a frustrating Game 4 loss
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after losing to the Washington Capitals, going down 3-1 in the series.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose Game Four 6-2 Against Capitals
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights loss against the Washington Capitals in game four of the Stanley Cup Final.
Knights Watch Party Game Four
Golden Knights fans gather at the T-Mobile Arena to watch game four of the Stanley Cup Final.
Knights Fans Excited For Watch Party At T-mobile
Golden Knights fans gather at the T-Mobile arena to cheer for the Knights in game four of the Stanley Cup Final.
Sen. Dean Heller cheering on the Golden Knights
Sen. Dean Heller talks to the Review-Journal about cheering on the Golden Knights and what the team has meant to the city.
Golden Edge: Knights need to find their magic in Game 4
Ed Graney and Adam Hill talk about what they think the Golden Knights need to do to rediscover a groove heading into Game 4.
Golden Edge: Knights not panicking after dropping two straight games
Zac Pacleb brings an update from the Golden Knights off day availability, including why the team isn't panicking just yet.
Golden Knights players talk on their off day
Ryan Carpenter, David Perron and Deryk Engelland talk to the media on their off day before getting ready for Game 4.
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
Station Casinos offers free wagers on Golden Knights to win Cup
Station Casinos will offer free bets on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup. The locals casino company announced a promotion offering free wagers ranging from $5 to $250 on the team who wins hockey’s most coveted trophy. Thousands of invited holders of Station’s Boarding Pass loyalty card will receive an offer by mail to swipe their cards Monday at kiosks at seven properties. A winning ticket could cash for up to $1,000. The Golden Knights are now the 4-1 co-favorites with the Nashville Predators to claim the NHL championship.
Vanderburg Elementary cheers on the Golden Knights with mascot Chance, Golden Aces cheerleaders
Students at Vanderburg Elementary wrote an original song for a #KnightUp contest from the Vegas Golden Knights. They won the contest and hosted Knights mascot Chance and the Golden Aces cheerleaders for a pep rally. Over 300 students came together to cheer on the Knights as they head into their fourth playoff game.
Golden Knights use fitness to grab 2-0 series lead
A day after beating the Kings 2-0 in double overtime, Golden Knights players credited their conditioning. "Your body is tired, but your mind is still racing," said forward Reilly Smith. "The crowd was unbelievable." A season-high gathering of 18,588 at T-Mobile Arena helped inspire the Knights to victory. "This is why we put in so much extra work all summer long," said defenseman Jon Merrill. "For a game like that." The series continues with Game 3 at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Knights success far exceeds LVCVA's tourism goals
Several months ago, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority set out to market the city as the sports capital of the world. With the addition of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, LVCVA saw the perfect opportunity to do so. The Knights' success and current Stanley Cup playoff run has resulted in a marketing marriage with Las Vegas that has been far more successful than anyone could have imagined. This season, the Knights have managed to unite the community and made hockey fans around the country take notice. “The Knights, in my mind, really put the exclamation point that we’re the sports capital of the world, not only what they’ve done on the ice in this historic season but how they brought the community together." Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Professional sports have been a staple for Las Vegas for decades with championship boxing matches, PGA golf tour events and the National Finals Rodeo. But big-league teams kept their distance from Nevada, due to lingering fears of sports betting somehow influencing games. "Las Vegas stands for something much more extensive and expansive now than what it once did" David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute
Smith Glad To Be Back In Lineup
The Golden Knights forward missed 15 games with an upper-body injury, (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hunt Said Buses Are Where Hockey Team Unity Gets Fostered
The Golden Knights defenseman was fortunate to have avoided any accidents while riding the bus in his hockey career. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Saskatchewan Native Brayden McNabb On The Humboldt Bus Tragedy
The Golden Knights defenseman knows the area well where the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a truck Friday and left 14 people dead. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims. On a night when the Golden Knights were looking to lock up the Pacific Division title and secure a championship banner, the team unveiled a banner of its own Saturday. The banner honors the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. Knights majority owner and chairman Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee also were on the ice, along with the family of shooting victim Neysa Tonks.
Golden Knights playoff tickets go on sale Monday
The Golden Knights clinched a playoff spot Monday night, and now officials are revealing how fans can get tickets. The hottest tickets in town are going on sale Monday morning on the Golden Knights website. There will be less than 1,000 tickets made available for public sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will only be sold on a single-game basis. Are you planning to go to any Golden Knights playoff games?
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like